Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 673


Albert G. Borkert, well known in Reading, Pa., as a contractor and builder, was born in that city in 1835, son of Daniel Borkert, a native of Oley Valley, and one of the first large contractors of Reading. He had formerly been a brick layer, but took up contracting in middle life, and many of the fine residences of the city are evidences of his skill. He also built the city hall, and a new part of the county jail, and several public school houses and factories. Mr. Borkert followed his business until seventy years of age, and then retired from active work, dying at the advanced age of eighty years. He married Catherine Gantz, who died when fifty-eight years of age. Their children were: William G., deceased; Mary, who m. a Mr. Sheeler, of Reading; Daniel, deceased; Augustus, m to Amanda Brown, and engaged in the contracting business with his brother, Richard; Richard, of Reading; Albert G.; Susan, who died aged thirty-four years; Amanda m. to a Mr. Goodman, of Wyomissing, Berks county; and John, a brick layer, m. to a Miss Goodman.

Albert G. Borkert attended the schools of the Third ward until fourteen years of age, when be learned the brick laying trade with his father with whom he was employed until the senior Borkert retired from business. The six sons then engaged in the contracting business under the name of W. G. Borkert & Bros., and continued under that name until the death of Daniel and William. Our subject then took his son into partnership with him, and the firm has been since known as Albert G. Borkert & Son, they having a fine office at No. 936 Penn street, and residing in the rear. They also carry a fine line of tobacco in connection with the contracting business. The firm built the old Boys' high school, the Girls' high school, the Sixth Church, the first stove foundry on North Third street, and others.

Mr. Borkert married Melinda Wentzel, daughter of Jesse Wentzel, and the following children were born to this union: Thomas, with his father; Harry, a partner of his father; Sarah; Annie; Bessie; Maggie; Katie; and Lillie. Mr. Borkert is a member of the Lutheran Church.


p. 686


Augustus Borkert, who died Dec. 12, 1908, aged seventy years, was one of Reading's leading business men, having been engaged in contracting and building for a number of years. He was a native of this city, born Feb. 20, 1838, son of Daniel Borkert.

Augustus Borkert's school days were spent at the Franklin street school, in Third ward, and there he attended until about fourteen years of age, when he started his business career as an errand boy in a department store. He remained there for about one and one-half years, at the end of which time he went to the hat factory to learn the hat business. His father desired him to learn the building business, and when nineteen years of age he engaged with his father in business and continued with him until the latter's retirement from active life. At this time the six Borkert brothers engaged in business together, and remained connected for some time; but later Augustus Borkert, under the firm name of Augustus Borkert & Bro., engaged in contracting and building, with his brother, and they erected a number of large business houses and residences, among the former being the Scott foundry and the Deibert building and part of Mohn's Hat factory. They also built the Polish school house, and others too numerous to mention. They employed from fifteen to eighteen hands. Mr. Borkert resided at No. 938 A, Penn street, where his death occurred.

Mr. Borkert married Mary Amanda Brown, daughter of John Brown, a Berks county blacksmith, and the following children were born to this union: Katy m. James Bady, and lives at Mt. Penn; George, employed with his father, m. Mary A. Long; Daniel, also employed with his father, m. Ida M. Zell; Clara m. Harry Rapp, of Reading; Howard J., a clerk for the firm of Gatley & Brenner, m. Katie Hill; Ida m. Marshall Huey, who engaged in the coal business on South Tenth street, and they reside on West Oley street; Walter m. to Rosa Houck, and they have two sons, Carl and Lester; Walter is employed with his father; Edward was clerking at the tube works, and met his death one day while going home from work at noon time, falling and breaking his neck while running; and Elizabeth is deceased.

Mr. Borkert was a Democrat and served on the common council, representing the Third ward. The family attended Grace Lutheran Church. In April, 1861, at the call for troops, Mr. Borkert enlisted in Company G, 7th Pa. V. I., for three months service, was mustered in at Harrisburg, and went with his regiment to Chambersburg, Greensburg, Williamsport, Millersburg and Charleston, and was there discharged, returning to Harrisburg, where he was mustered out of service and returned to Reading. Mr. Borkert was laid to rest in Aulenbach cemetery. His widow resides at the Penn street home.


p. 768


Richard G. Borkert, of Reading, Pa., one of the well known contracting Borkert Brothers, and a leading business man, was born in that city, Sept. 1, 1840, son of Daniel Borkert, a complete sketch of whom will be found elsewhere.

Richard G. Borkert attended the Franklin street school, of the Third ward, until he was eighteen years old, and then learned the hatter's trade, which he followed for about five years, after which he engaged with his father in the brick laying business. When his father died, Mr. Borkert engaged in the contracting business with his brothers, and under the firm name of Augustus Borkert & Bro., was in business with his brother, Augustus, until the latter's death in December, 1908. Mr. Borkert resides at No. 926 Penn street. He married (first) Sarah Bink, who died in 1898. They had two children, both deceased. Mr. Borkert's second marriage was to Elnora, widow of John Leininger, and one child has been born to this union: Richard, now attending high school. Mr. Borkert is a Democrat in politics, but has never taken an active part in party work. He is a Lutheran in religious belief. Mr. Borkert served one hundred days in the Civil war, being a private of Company A, 48th Pa. V. I., and was assigned to guard duty. He was mustered into service at Reading, and received his honorable discharge in the same city.

William Young, the father of Mrs. Borkert, was born in Reading, and received a common school education. He learned the cigar making business, but did not follow that occupation for any length of time, engaging in the confectionery business at Seventh and Penn streets, where he became well known in that line, and also as a fruit dealer. Mr. Young had a large vineyard at what is now Twelfth and Walnut streets, and was very prosperous. He died at the age of seventy-four years. He married Sarah Bishop, who died at the age of sixty-three years, and both are buried in the Charles Evans cemetery. Their children were: Fredericka E.; Elnora, the wife of our subject; Wilhelmina, widow of Emil Bishoff; William of Lock Haven; John; Theophilus; Annie C., wife of William M. Bond; Sarah, wife of Ed. H. Scheaffer, of Reading; Isaac B., (twin to Sarah), m. to Katie Lease, of Reading; and Ida Rebecca, of California.


p. 1139


William D. A. Borkert, for many years well known as a bricklaying contractor of Reading, Pa., who has been recently appointed to the position of City Park policeman, was born April 20, 1860, at No. 1024 Penn street, Reading, son of the late William G. Borkert.

Daniel Borkert, grandfather of William D. A., was one of the earliest contractors in Reading. He married Mary Gantz, and their children were: William G., Daniel, Mary, Albert, Augustus, Amanda, Richard, John, Frank and Susan.

William G. Borkert, son of Daniel, was a brick-layer by trade. He married Catharine Miller, daughter of John and Catharine (Kutz) Miller, and their children were: John J., Emma, Katie A., William D. A., Susan A., Mary E. and Cora R., of whom Susan A. and Cora R. died young.

William D. A. Borkert received his education in the public schools and at high school. After leaving school he learned the hatting trade, which he followed for a few years and at the age of nineteen engaged with his father to learn bricklaying continuing with him until the latter's death, July 29, 1901, and then for two years with his uncle, Albert Borkert. Mr. Borkert continued bricklaying for twenty-five years, and in 1894 received an appointment as inspector of the big sewer building contract. After its completion he was employed in 1899, as the first inspector on the asphalt paving contract in Reading. Mr. Borkert spent three years in work at City Park, and when William High was elected park superintendent, Mr. Borkert was put on the police force to succeed Ammon Griesemer. Mr. Borkert is active in Eighth ward Democratic politics and has acted as judge, inspector and clerk, and was a delegate to city conventions. He is a member of the Bricklayers' Union No. 21; Knights of Friendship, and Grace Lutheran Church. Mr. Borkert has held the offices of president, vice-president and secretary of the Union.

Mr. Borkert married Ellen S., daughter of Peter L. Stout, the only left-handed violin player in the county. Mr. and Mrs. Borkert have had children, as follows: William is deceased; Katie mar. Robert I. Oswald, and has two children, Stanley C. and Harold W.; Mabel mar. David Stout, and has one daughter, Dorothy; Esther mar. Oscar A. High, and has one daughter, Edna E.; and Mary, Cora, Lery, Elwood, Marguerite, Ruth, Charles D., Joice L., Edna, Warren R., George L., Miriam W., Dorothy L. and Hazel E., the last six named being deceased. The family lives at No. 113 North Tenth street.


p. 699


Willam G. Borkert (deceased) was born Dec. 29, 1825, on Penn street, Reading. He received a common school education and then learned the hatter's trade, which he followed in the winter, while he worked at the trade of a brick-layer in the summer months. He spent his time in that manner for a number of years, and then gave up the hatting business, devoting his entire time and attention to brick laying and contracting, in which he engaged with five other brothers, the firm being known as the Borkert Brothers, and he remained therein until his death, July 29, 1901, when he was seventy-five years and seven months old. He had been in the business about thirty-one years, and few business men were better known.

Mr. Borkert married Catherine M. Miller, born Feb. 8, 1828, daughter of John and Catherine (Kutz) Miller, the former of Lancaster county and the latter of Reading. Mrs. Borkert had two brothers, John W. and Jacob, and one sister, Susan. Mrs. Borkert died Jan. 27, 1906. She and her husband were consistent members of Grace Lutheran Church, of Reading, and were much esteemed as good, kindly, Christian people. They had these children: John J., a brick-layer of Reading, who married Rosa A. Seiders: Misses Emma A. and Kate A., who reside at home; William D. A., a bricklayer at Reading, who married Ellen Stout; Mary E., who married (first) Charles Fisher, and (second) John Pennypacker, of Reading; and Susan and Cora, both deceased.

The Misses Emma A. and, Katie A. Borkert reside at No. 1024 Penn street, Reading, in the old home in which their parents lived and died. They are very estimable ladies, refined and cultured, and are well known for their hospitality.


p. 1355


William B. Borkey, a resident of Centreport for over fifty years, formerly a merchant at that place and at one time postmaster, was born Oct. 1, 1825, in Centre township, and has passed all his life in Berks county. His grandfather was a farmer in Bern township, Berks county, where he died.

Michael Borkey, father of William B. Borkey, was born in Bern township, May 24, 1794, was a farmer by occupation, and died March 4, 1875, aged eighty years, nine months, ten days. He is buried at Belleman's Church, in Centre township. He married Anna Maria Bentz, born Feb. 23, 1808, died Dec. 2, 1872, aged sixty-four years, nine months, nine days. Their children were: William B., John, who is a resident of Centre township; Mary, married to Frank Schock; Elvina, deceased; Sydenham, who married Leah Strouse and lives in Centre township; Nathaniel, living in Scull Hill; Samuel, of Jefferson township; Eliza, married to Albert Backenstose; Sarah, deceased, and Isaac, deceased.

William B. Borkey attended the schools of his district, and after he began work became a clerk in Samuel Miller's store at Bernville, where he remained until 850. He then went to Leesport, where he clerked until 1854, after which he engaged in business on his own account at West Leesport, where Samuel Lenhart is now located. There he continued for three years, at the end of that period coming to Centreport, in 1858. He was the second merchant at this point, succeeding John Faust, who was the first, and he continued general merchandising at Centreport for fifteen years, meeting with gratifying success. He then retired from that line, and he has since devoted his attention principally to his property, being an extensive owner of real estate in both the borough and the township. Among other borough property he owns eight houses, and he has two fine farms in Centre township, one being the old Christ place, of 120 acres, and the other a tract of sixty acres near Belleman's Church. He is a man who has accumulated his means by honorable methods, and he is accordingly highly esteemed, no citizen commanding greater respect among his fellow townsmen. He has been quite active in the Sybil administration of the borough, for several years served as councilman, and also as assessor, and in 1889 he was appointed postmaster, serving one term in that office. He is a Republican in political sentiment.

Mr. Borkey married Miss Anna Christ, daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Yoder) Christ, and three children blessed their union: Lillie A. and Emma L. are at home; Mahlon D., died when twelve years old.


p. 564


Rev. George Bornemann, the only priest of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church for a continuous period of forty-two years, and most affectionately recognized and spoken of in the community as "Father Bornemann," was born at Lingen, in the province of Hanover, Germany, Picture of George BornemannOct. 5, 1838. He is the son of William Bornemann, a ropemaker, who died at Reading in 1884, aged eighty-two years, and Louisa Rolfs, his wife, who died while he was still a young boy. He emigrated to the United States when fifteen years of age, his father following some years afterward. He was specially educated for the priesthood in Germany and the United States, graduating from St. Vincent's College at Latrobe, Pa., in 1862, and then extended his ecclesiastical studies at St. Charles Seminary, in Philadelphia. He was regularly ordained as a priest in 1865 by Bishop(afterward Archbishop) Wood. After serving as assistant priest at Philadelphia for a year, and as priest at Newcastle, Del., for the same period, he became pastor at St. Paul's Church in Reading in 1867, and this large and growing parish he has served most devotedly and successfully for forty-two continuous years, a truly remarkable period. His communicant members have come to number three thousand. During his ministrations the church property at Ninth and Walnut streets, for religious, educational and charitable purposes, has become the largest at Reading, evidencing in a high degree his superior judgment and executive ability.

Besides being directly interested in the success of his own parish, Father Bornemann has been very active in the establishment of other institutions immediately connected with the Roman Catholic denomination. St. Joseph's Hospital; House of the Good Shepherd; St, Catharine's Orphan Asylum for Girls; St. Paul's Orphan Asylum for Boys; the Polish, Italian and Slavic Roman Catholic Churches; St. Bernardino's Convent and Asylum, Oak Brook; and Gethsemane Roman Catholic Cemetery; all of which are successfully administered.


p. 1198


Addison W. Borry, an enterprising young business man of No. 826. Elm street, Reading, Pa., engaged in carpentering and contracting, was born July 24, 1877, in Clay township, Lancaster county, son of Adam and Harriet (Wolf) Borry.

Henry Borry, grandfather of Addison W., was a resident of Lancaster county, and there spent a long and useful life. To him and his wife were born the following children: Jacob, Henry, Rebecca, Adam, Samuel, Fienna, Hiram, John and Eli.

Adam Borry attended the schools of his native township and when a boy learned the shoemaker's trade, which be followed several years. He then was employed in a planing mill for a few years, after which he engaged in agricultural pursuits, in which he has continued to the present time, owning a farm in Clay township. Adam Borry was united in marriage with Harriet Wolf, and they became the parents of these children: Lillie, Rebecca, Angeline, Emily (deceased), Moses, Addison W., Samuel (of Reading), Henry, Lydia, and one child that died in infancy.

Addison W. Borry attained his education in the public schools of Clay township, and when a young man learned the carpenter's trade. He came to Reading in 1900, and was employed at the car shops for three months, was then employed by the roadway department of the Philadelphia & Reading Company, was with Beard & Co., E. Dempman and H. Hickman, and finally engaged in busi-ness on his own account, July 27, 1903, his first piece of work being done on a residence on Fourth street. Since that time Mr. Borry's work has been in demand, and he employs five skilled workmen as assistants.

Mr. Borry was married to Lillian Heck, of Reading, and to them have been born the following children: Clarence, deceased; Grace; Catherine; Mary; Norman and Ruth. In politics Mr. Borry is a Republican, but he has never engaged actively in public matters. He is a member of the Evangelical Church. Mr. and Mrs. Borry are very popular in their community, having made many warm friends.


p. 1116


John W. Borst, machinist, at Reading, Pa., and a well-known and respected citizen, was born in the house in which he still resides at No. 112 North Ninth street, Reading, Feb. 25, 1854, son of Jacob and Catherine (Felix) Borst.

Jacob Borst, was born in Bavaria, Germany Aug. 20, 1820, and came to America in childhood. He learned the trade of machinist in the Philadelphia & Reading Rail-road shops at Reading, and continued in the employ of this corporation until his death Dec. 12, 1890, at the age of seventy years. He married Catherine Felix, who died March 13, 1878, aged fifty-five years. Both were buried in the Catholic cemetery at Reading. They have three surviving children: Emma C., who resides with her brother. J. W.; John W.; and Jacob A. The last named is also a machinist, and is employed in the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad shops. He married Mary Fleer, and they have these children: Nellie, Francis, Charles, Joseph and John.

John W. Borst attended the public schools of Reading un-til the age of fifteen years. In 1870 he entered upon an apprenticeship in the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad shops and worked until it was completed and continued with the company for twenty-five years. In 1902 he accepted his present position with the Birdsboro Foundry and Machine Company, and is considered one of the most expert machinists in their employ.

Mr. Borst married Mary Scheck, daughter of Andrew and Mary Scheck, of Leesport, Pa. Mrs. Borst died March 5, 1888, at the age of thirty-three years, leaving a family, viz.: Charles J., a graduate of Brunner's Business College, who is now employed as bookkeeper at W. W. Essick's Optical Factory, at Reading, m. Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 1908, Mayme E. Herbst; George A., a salesman in the Home Store, at Reading, m. June 25, 1908, Elizabeth Nevin, and lives at his wife's home No. 922 North Eighth street; and two children are deceased. Mr. Borst is a member of the St. Paul Catholic Church at Reading.


p. 1534


George B. Bortz, a well known business man of Temple, Pa., who conducts a grocery and general merchandise store, was born in 1868, in Muhlenberg township, Berks county, son of Gideon and Priscilla (Boltz) Bortz, and a grandson of Daniel Bortz.

Daniel Bortz was a farmer in Muhlenberg township, an earnest supporter of Democratic principles and a pillar of the Reformed Church. He married a Miss Heck, and to them were born these children: Gideon; Charles; Amos; John; William; Elias; Sally, who married Daniel Snyder; and Mrs. Daniel Schlenger.

Gideon Bortz was a carpenter by trade, but later in life engaged in agricultural pursuits, and operated a farm for twenty-five years in Muhlenberg township, his death occurring at Temple, Feb. 21, 1902. His widow still survives him. Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Bortz, six of whom are still living; Landis, Clara, Emma, William, George B. and Daniel. During the Civil war Gideon Bortz was drafted for service in the Union army, but was able to procure a substitute. He was a Democrat in politics, and held a number of township offices, and in religious belief was of the Reformed faith.

George B. Bortz was educated in the schools of Muhlenberg township, after leaving which he clerked for M. S. Adams for five years, at Rothermel's store at Blandon for a period, and at a store in Reading for two years. He then returned to Temple, where for one and one-half years he served in the capacity of clerk for Charles Kesling, and at the end of this time engaged with his brother Daniel Bortz in a general merchandise business at Temple. This partnership continued until Aug. 1, 1904, when George B. purchased his brother's interest, and since that time has successfully conducted the business alone, carrying a complete and up-to-date line of groceries and general merchandise. Mr. Bortz has a reputation for honesty and integrity, and his goods are always as represented, consequently he has a large steady trade among the citizens of his community.

Mr. Bortz was married to Katie Wertz, daughter of Franklin Wertz, and one child, Helen, has been born to this union. Fraternally Mr. Bortz is connected with the I. O. R. M.; Washington Camp No. 107, P. O. S. of A.; and I. O. O. F. Lodge No. 470, of Reading. He is also a member of the Intermediate Relief Association of Reading, and the Temple Relief Association. In political matters he is a Democrat, and is now serving as township auditor.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:41 EDT

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